The Sweet History of Conversation Hearts


Everyone knows conversation hearts! They've been charming us with their sweet messages for decades.

From their humble beginnings to a near brush with extinction, these tiny heart-shaped candies have been through a lot! In this blog post, Let's explore the sweet history of one of the all-time best Valentine's Day candies. 

Who Invented Conversation Hearts?

The story of conversation hearts begins in the mid-19th century when an enterprising pharmacist named Oliver R. Chase decided to revolutionize the way people consumed medicine. In 1847, Chase invented a machine capable of pressing a gum-like substance into the shape of tiny discs. Little did he know that his creation, initially intended for medicinal use, would pave the way for the birth of conversation hearts.

Chase's brother, Daniel, expanded on this idea, and by the 1860s, the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) started producing the first version of conversation hearts. Originally, the candies were larger and printed with longer, elaborate messages, often featuring love poems and phrases popular during the Victorian era.

How Have Conversation Hearts Changed Through the Years?

Over the decades, conversation hearts underwent several transformations. In the early 20th century, NECCO began printing messages directly on the candies using vegetable dye. The size of the hearts was also reduced to their familiar small form.

The messages themselves evolved to reflect the changing times, from traditional romantic phrases to more contemporary expressions. In the 1990s, NECCO introduced new colors and flavors, expanding the appeal of conversation hearts beyond their original pastel shades.

How Did Conversation Hearts Almost Go Extinct?

The future of conversation hearts took an uncertain turn in 2018 when NECCO, the original producer, went out of business. The sudden closure left fans worried about the fate of these beloved candies, as they faced the possibility of disappearing from store shelves.

Enter Spangler Candy Company, known for their Dum Dums lollipops. In 2018, Spangler acquired the rights to make and sell NECCO's iconic candies, including conversation hearts. This acquisition ensured that the sweet tradition would continue, albeit under new management.

Who Makes the Candy Today?

Today, Spangler Candy Company carries the torch for conversation hearts. With a commitment to preserving the charm and nostalgia of the original candies, they have continued the tradition of producing these sweet treats for modern generations.

Spangler has maintained the classic flavors and messages while also introducing new and exciting variations to keep up with changing tastes. 


Conversation Hearts don't seem to be going anywhere any time soon! 

Now, here's the important question... do you LOVE or HATE them? 

Let us know in the comments!


  • Wendy

    Heart shaped candies with sweet messages on them…what’s not to love!💗

  • Gabriel Hamilton

    I Love them. I look forward to every February so I can get hold of them

  • Vicki

    I LOVE them. They are hard to find though.